Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Live Music Review //
Ralph White, Joseph Allred, Stefan Christensen
June 4th, 2023
at Willimantic Records, Willimantic CT


Additional photos can be found here :::

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1259318024798416&type=3


When I first found out about this show I was excited because I've listened to Joseph Allred for a while and this was my first chance to see him live.   A few months back, I actually even bought a cassette of his from Willimantic Records.   In some ways, that felt like things were coming full circle, but this also was a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon because we wouldn't get home too late after it either.

This show opened with a set by Stefan Christensen and I must admit now (and I will state it again later) but when we were almost to this show I realized I had left all of my camera batteries at home, so taking photos and making videos didn't seem like it was going to happen.  I felt okay with that though because I thought it could help me focus on the sound more, to write about it in a deeper sense because I could pay closer attention.  

I ended up taking only one photo of Stefan Christensen (with my phone) and no videos, but by the second set I realized I was going to try and do both with my phone and see how it turned out.   As I type this, the result of that isn't quite fully realized yet but it should be once this is posted.   I'll leave it up to whoever sees this to decide if the result is better, worse or about the same but I'm going to try and not forget my camera batteries again.  (I also usually have a backup camera Quentin uses, but since he wasn't with us I didn't even have that!)

Stefan Christensen played these dark acoustics while singing.   They were spaced out with slow pauses and as the set came to an end the words were about time fading away while everything picked up the pace just to slow back down and feel like it was fading away.   This was intense set but it was also the only one to use one instrument in terms of the vocals being with the acoustic guitar only as both of the next performers would change instruments during their sets.  This made this set stand out and I respect that it felt like making the most of what you had.

Second was Joseph Allred who switched between the harmonium and two different acoustic guitars.   The songs were sometimes instrumental and other times there were vocals.   The harmonium was a fun sound to hear but the highlight of the set in many ways was the way that the guitars were picked.  You can either choose to like this style of folk music or not, but the way that the picking was done so quickly and precisely just felt like something that needed to be experienced live.  The talent there is certainly impressive and it felt hypnotic at times.

Joseph Allred told stories about groundhogs and other topics which sometimes related to the songs and sometimes didn't as much, but it was still nice to hear the stories.  I've always enjoyed having that sort of background to go with a song, even if it doesn't always apply and is just a story that seems to be along the same lines which makes it worth hearing in my opinion.

Ralph White is a seventy year old musician from Austin, Texas who played the accordion, banjo and electric guitar during his set.   I enjoyed it because when the accordion was on it felt like the sound could've shifted to a polka and I always feel that way about that instrument.   But this did have that Texas sound to it, which you can only explain through hearing Texas music and having lived there for a bit and not anymore it's nice to still hear it every once in a while.  

I feel like this was a really well balanced show because everyone had qualities in their music to tie them together but also it felt like you had that local opener followed by an established touring artist and then the veteran headliner.   Any of these musicians would've been nice to see individually, but the three of them together just felt like a special time at Willimantic Records.  



Willimantic Records can be found on the web here :::

http://blog.willimanticrecords.com/


Stefan Christensen can be found on Bandcamp here :::

https://stefanchristensen.bandcamp.com/


Joseph Allred can be found on Bandcamp here :::

https://poorfaulkner.bandcamp.com/album/for-the-fallen-dawn


Ralph White can be found on the web here :::

https://ralphewhite.com/

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